Reduce Global Warming With a Carbon Tax

The author of the economy page column "A Different View Of Global Warming," May 21, rightly concludes that we should "pursue policies and actions that make sense even if the enhanced greenhouse effect does not exist." But he then endorses the old short-run business solution of tax credits.

One must ask: Who finances the investment tax credits? Tax credits, including those that inspire more energy efficient production, reduce the tax revenue from investors but necessarily increase the revenue that must come from others.

More important, this policy reinforces the view that carbon-dioxide emissions leading to global warming are acceptable and the atmosphere is a "free good" available for the taking.

Alternatively, a carbon tax reaffirms that a clean atmosphere is an increasingly scarce common good critical to our long-run survival. Those that produce and use products creating the carbon emissions must pay the full cost of such products, including the atmospheric damages.

The carbon tax will both inspire investment in energy-efficient production and reduction in the use of products creating the emissions. William F. Stolte, Berea, Ky.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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